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COVID-19: After Trump's Comment, WHO Says Anti-malaria Drugs Best Left To Tests

WHO’s clarification comes after President Donal Trump said that he has been taking the anti-malaria drug for over a week now, while addressing a press briefing.


After repeated criticism from US President Donald Trump about “failure” to contain the pandemic, WHO in recent comments said that “science is still unclear” on anti-malaria drug Hydroxychloroquine Trump was taking to combat the COVID-19 disease. Further, it added that the drug is best left to tests and should only be used in controlled clinical trials, as per a news agency report. 

WHO’s clarification comes after US President Donal Trump said that he has been taking the anti-malaria drug for over a week now, while addressing a press briefing at The White House. Despite warnings from CDC that the drug should only be administered for COVID-19 in a hospital or research setting due to potentially “fatal” side effects, Trump touted its use to the American citizens. “I’ve been taking the drug, hydroxychloroquine, and a zinc supplement daily for about a week and a half now,” Trump was heard saying at the news conference. “I started taking it, because I think it’s good,” he said, adding, "I've heard a lot of good stories.” 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reportedly commented, "He’s our president, and I would rather he not be taking the drug not approved by the scientists, especially in his age group and his, shall we say, weight group, morbidly obese, they say."

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Nations free to "advise own citizens"

WHO’s emergencies chief, Dr. Michael Ryan said in a virtual conference that the drug, hydroxychloroquine — which Trump said that he's taking —was only “one of many possible therapies being now tested internationally to see if they are effective against the novel coronavirus”. Further, in its comments as of May 20, WHO suggested that it remained ‘unbent’ to Trump’s criticism and his recent threat to end all funding for the UN’s health agency and permanently cut ties with the organization if it doesn’t reform. 

“Every sovereign nation, particularly those with effective regulatory authorities, is in a position to advise its own citizens regarding the use of any drug,” WHO said. “At this stage (neither) hydroxychloroquine nor chloroquine have been as yet found to be effective in the treatment of COVID-19,” it stated, adding, “In fact, the opposite — warnings have been issued regarding potential side effects of the drug.” 

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